Foreign and Defense Policy, Terrorism

Pawlenty: Terrorist Catch and Release Is ‘Preposterous’

In an interview for my Washington Post column this week, I asked Tim Pawlenty about the recent testimony of Admiral William McRaven that the Obama administration has no clear plan for handling suspected terrorist leaders if they are caught alive—and that if captured terrorists cannot be tried in a U.S. court or transferred to the custody of an allied country, they are simply let go.

“I think that is preposterous,” Pawlenty told me, adding that he will end such a catch and release policy if he is elected president. Pawlenty also said he would keep Guantanamo open, and start bringing terrorists there, as well as other facilities, for interrogation again. He would restore enhanced interrogation “under certain and controlled and limited circumstances.” As for civilian trials for terrorists, Pawlenty said: “We are engaged in the war on terror. [When] we are in the battlefield in Afghanistan or Iraq or its operational equivalent in some other place, and we apprehend somebody who is a suspected enemy combatant, the proper place for that person to be processed and questioned and prosecuted is not our civilian courts.”

In other words, he would do precisely what Admiral McRaven says the Obama administration has failed to do: establish a clear plan for dealing with captured terrorists.

Cross-posted from the Washington Post blog.

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